More about our presenters:
Marcia is a veteran of 37 years as a public school music educator including 14 years as Coordinator of Secondary Fine Arts in the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, where she grew the music program to be the largest in the United States. Marcia now serves as president of Music Education Consultants, Inc., a consortium of music education professionals that works with a variety of educational organizations, arts associations, and school districts to foster the growth and breadth of standards-based, articulated music education programs.
Marcia serves as Education Advisor to the Music Achievement Council whose sole purpose is to assist directors in recruiting and retaining instrumental students through effective professional development. In 2016, she was named Senior Director of Education for Yamaha and subsequently, a Yamaha Master Educator. In these capacities, she has provided sessions and in-service trainings in 41 states. Neel also sits on the PAS Board of Directors.
For twelve years, Steve Smith taught middle school band in the Lewisville Independent School District, a northern suburb of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area in Texas. For eight of those years he served as the Director of Bands at Downing Middle School in Flower Mound. At Downing, Mr. Smith taught the Symphonic Band, assisted with the Concert Band and taught all of the beginning woodwind classes. The bands at Downing consistently displayed a high standard for musical excellence highlighted by a performance at the 2005 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago.
In 2012, Steve joined the team at Hal Leonard as an Instrumental Editor. At Hal Leonard, he works with the production of instrumental music and educational materials for band and strings. Steve brings his recent teaching experience to Hal Leonard and is using this in the development of the new Essential Elements Interactive website designed to assist teachers and students at the beginning instrumental level.
In 2010, Mr. Smith’s composition Capilano Fanfare was selected in the Dallas Wind Symphony’s Call for Fanfares and received a performance as the opening fanfare for the 2010-2011 concert season. In 2007, Mr. Smith was honored as a “Distinguished Music Educator” by the Yale University School of Music, in conjunction with an international symposium promoting music in the public schools.
Steve earned his Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of North Texas in 1998 and his Master’s degree from UNT in 2012. While at North Texas, he studied saxophone under Dr. Eric Nestler and performed in the North Texas Wind Symphony under the direction of Mr. Eugene Migliaro Corporon. Mr. Smith has was also involved in the drum and bugle corps activity for over twelve years. After performing with and teaching the brass section for the Madison Scouts, Mr. Smith worked with the Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps from Lexington, Kentucky and with the Santa Clara Vanguard from Santa Clara, California. For 8 years, worked with Specialized Administrative Services Inc., providing leadership training for high school band students across the state of Texas.
Mr. Smith is an active member of the TMEA and NAfME. Prior to moving to Wisconsin to join Hal Leonard, his wife, Jenny, was an elementary art teacher and is now a freelance artist in the Milwaukee area. They enjoy spending time together and are proud parents to their 4-year-old son Seoul.
Dan learned to play violin in 4th grade and continued through high school playing in the orchestra. Dan started working part-time in retail music sales at age 15 in Alexandria, MN for Carlson Music Center. While working at the music store he picked up playing guitar and bass guitar. Dan's responsibilities at Carlson Music involved checking in and receiving guitars, band and orchestra instruments, and accessories. He received sales training and experience in all the departments of the retail music business as one of four sales professionals at Carlson Music.
After 5 years through High School and a 2 year Associate Degree in Sales and Marketing at the local community college Dan started full time as a school service representative calling on school music departments in central MN. Four years later he went into a retail business partnership with Bridge of Harmony Music with stores in Brainerd and St. Cloud, MN where he did all the buying, selling, and servicing of school music products for the company and expanded the school market in great MN.
In 1994 Dan had the opportunity to join KHS (Jupiter Band Instruments) of Austin, TX as District Manager for the Mid-West, a position that he is still in currently, where he covers MN, WI, IA, North and South Dakota, and the UP of MI. The brands he represents are: Jupiter Winds, XO pro product, Azumi flutes, Altus flutes, Sonar Orff, Hercules stands, Mapex Marching Drums, and Majestic concert percussion.
Greg Forton has been a music teacher since 1987 after graduating from St. Norbert College in DePere Wisconsin. He started his career in Battle Creek, Michigan, where he taught band, orchestra, and directed the community middle level honors band. In 1989 he moved closer to family by accepting the high school band director's position in Hortonville, Wisconsin. Under his direction, the band developed into musical ambassadors for our school district and the state of Wisconsin. The Polar Bear Band has traveled to Mackinac Island, Florida, New Orleans, Hawaii, Washington D.C. and Europe. Mr. Forton has continued his educational training by receiving his Masters in Education and Administration from National Louis University. Gred continually works and assists with other schools and businesses in the area of photography, videography, and audio recording. He also performs/directs the HasBand "Community Jazz Ensemble" and has been teaching/performing locally and around the world on the ukulele.